May 13, 2016
Delivering your voices at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Yesterday I went to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on your behalf, and on behalf of the Save the Link campaign and the thousands of Internet users who have participated in it. I met with 5 MEPs: Julia Reda, Marietje Schaake, Vicky Ford, Josef Weidenholzer, and Daniel Dalton, who received your views on your right to link.
Caption: We had been going to take the picture outside but due to French thunderstorms we are in here, holding your comments
What are they holding?
These comments in their hands were all 3737 responses we received from Internet users in the European Union, using our Save the Link survey on the EC's consultation on online platforms last year.
We asked you to express your opinion on just a few key questions they were posing: on the link tax, on forcing websites to monitor and censor online content without judicial process, and on your experiences of losing access to content online without explanation. Your answers will impact whether new regulations drafted at the European level either restrict our freedoms online or continue to facilitate interconnectedness.
Your voice makes a difference
When the Commission started this consultation we were surprised to find that they opened up some questions only to rightsholders. They then stated that they wanted to make the decision on whether to introduce an ancillary copyright dependent on the outcome of the consultation: all but guaranteeing they would receive a ‘yay for the link tax!’ with many responses from the publishing lobby. Hardly a fair system of consultation.
So we created our survey form at SavetheLink.org/YourVoice (see more about our methodology here). Our tool was the only possibility for non-rightsholder respondents to voice their concerns about ancillary copyright. And then initially the Commission refused to count all the comments.
Now we have delivered your voice right to their doorstep! Yesterday's visit is our way of making sure those views got into the halls of power. We're still waiting on them for their final response, but with actions like this we'll be hard to ignore.
Who did we meet?
The MEPs who received the comments are members of the European Parliament’s Digital Agenda Intergroup: cross-party, cross-borders and united in this situation by their interest in making sure digital technology has a positive impact on society. They're also campaigning against the link tax: take a look at Julia Reda’s blog on my trip and Daniel Dalton’s on why he is against the link tax.
Whilst we were building our tool, these MEPs wrote to the Commission saying ‘no’ to ancillary copyright. They said “While any specific legislative measure will be dealt with by the proper EU institutions in due time, we kindly advise the Commission to take into account the Parliament’s rejection of the notion of ancillary copyright.” They, too, have an interest in the responses you gave being taken into account.
It's important to make the time to work with politicians and decision-makers who have the power to shape the laws we implement and to raise the concerns of individuals in the discussions around these laws.
Thank you for the support of the community in making this happen and sending me to Strasbourg! I couldn't have done it without you.
The Commission are running one last questionnaire on the link tax, the final step before they release the draft copyright law in just a few months. Please add your voice now at https://savethelink.org/eu.
Want to find a past blog on this campaign? You can see all our articles, and the save the link news at https://savethelink.org/latest
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